Today I am interviewing Bethany C. Morrow, author of the new science-fiction novel, MEM.
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DJ: Hi Bethany! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Bethany C. Morrow: I’m a speculative literary writer, writing both adult and YA market fiction; I’m a recovering expatriate originally from Northern California, but I’m not particularly invested in recovering so I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if it doesn’t take.
DJ: What is MEM about?
Bethany: MEM is about an imagined past in which scientists were able to extract unwanted memories, and those extractions resulted in…beings identical to the people who had the memories taken out. Typically those extractions simply housed the memories, but then along came one Mem who was a lot more. MEM is about what it would be like to be her.
DJ: What were some of your influences for MEM?
Bethany: I don’t know if there are influences for MEM, other than my recollection of the spectacle of Dolly the Sheep. Once I know my character, my desire is to follow their trajectory in the world in which I’ve both placed them but which also has to inform them. In the sense that none of us are born or formed in a vacuum, what doesn’t influence us?
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Bethany: My main character is Elsie, the MEM. Now you’ll see her referred to as Dolores in other interviews and reviews because her Source (the person who extracted the memory that she houses) is named Dolores, and in MEM, extractions are named for their Source and the order in which they were taken out. The most telling and important thing about Elsie, is that she named herself.
DJ: What is the world and setting of MEM like?
Bethany: MEM takes place in an alternate 1920s Montreal, which of course is a real and vibrant city in the Canadian province of Quebec, which also means it’s an officially bilingual, but realistically multi-lingual, multicultural city that is often described as a cross between a European and an American city. In MEM, Montreal is as it was – except for the scientific discovery, and the fact that I intentionally omitted racism as an institution so that I could tell Elsie’s story as a MEM, without the realistic consequences of her other intersections demanding certain outcomes.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing MEM?
Bethany: Finding out what happened next. 🙂
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Bethany: Probably whether or not they would have a MEM extracted if they could.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing MEM? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Bethany: My goal wasn’t unique to MEM so much as it’s just a goal of mine in writing – that I only tell the story of a character who could not exist in any world but the one they inhabit. She had to be native and exclusive to the world of MEM, otherwise she’s not the right ambassador for the story. The message sort of inevitably becomes whatever is the core belief of the protagonist, and I’ll be honest, Elsie definitely converted me. After writing it, my answer to the question of whether I’d extract a Mem had changed.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from MEM that you can share with us?
Bethany: “What kind of people are we if we can’t traverse the landscape of our own memories? What kind of people do they become who refuse?”
DJ: Now that MEM is released, what is next for you?
Bethany: Other than the things I’m not at liberty to name yet, I have a contemporary fantasy coming out with Tor Teen in winter 2020, which I am so so excited about.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page:https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B075DX57FT
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** MEM is published by Unnamed Press and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Indiebound | Kobo
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Set in the glittering art deco world of a century ago, MEM makes one slight alteration to history: a scientist in Montreal discovers a method allowing people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete. The Mems exist as mirror-images of their source ― zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over, until they expire in the cavernous Vault where they are kept.
And then there is Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem capable of creating her own memories. An ageless beauty shrouded in mystery, she is allowed to live on her own, and create her own existence, until one day she is summoned back to the Vault.
About the Author:
A California native, Bethany C. Morrow spent six years living in Montreal, Quebec. Her speculative literary fiction uses a focus on character and language to engage with, comment on and investigate worlds not unlike our own. MEM is her debut novel. She currently resides in upstate New York.